Given the utterly vacuous conversations he conducted with Lt. Governor Dan Forest a few weeks back (“interview” would be too generous of a word), it’s no particular surprise that WTVD reporter Larry Stogner turned in this half-baked 129 seconds with Governor McCrory yesterday.
Still, Stogner needs to apologize for the offensive editorializing with which he began the segment.
“Governor Pat McCrory has a lot on his mind these days. He and state Senate leaders are butting heads over several key items in the Senate’s $20 billion budget plan. And he’s keeping an eye on those ugly Monday night protests and mass arrests led by the NAACP.“
Say what? Hey Larry: You’re the journalist—not the commentator. Your use of the pejorative “ugly” was offensive and utterly inappropriate. For thousands upon thousands of North Carolinians, the utterly peaceful, frequently prayerful protests of ordinary citizens are anything but “ugly.” What’s ugly are the absurd kangaroo proceedings and regressive policy decisions of the General Assembly that have given rise to the protests.
Stogner then doubled down in displaying his bias in the interview itself. After giving McCrory several unchallenged seconds to allege—with laughable inaccuracy—that the protesters are fighting to preserve “the status quo,” Stogner asked the following:
“From a public relations standpoint, how do you think it makes the state look?”
Seriously, Larry: that’s your question about such an unprecedented and passionate moment in state history? The P.R. impact? Even McCrory didn’t seem to get where Stogner was going with this question initially, though he did manage to pivot and mumble some incoherent and inaccurate allegations about “outside influences.”
The bottom line: No one’s expecting much from a two-minute TV segment of this kind, but audiences have a right to receive more from a veteran journalist than a virtual infomercial. Ultimately, however, Stogner’s weird fixation with public relations was probably unsurprising given that his “interview” was little more than just that: a P.R. session for the Governor.